From Denver: Dems Discuss Funding Woes; Biden Says “Amtrak”

bidenAP.jpgLast night saw what might one day qualify as an historic moment in transportation circles, as vice presidential candidate Joe Biden used the "A"-word during his speech to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. From a transcript of Biden’s address, via CNN:

You know, John McCain is my friend. And I know you hear that phrase
used all the time in politics. I mean it. John McCain is my friend.

We’ve traveled the world together. It’s a friendship that goes beyond
politics. And the personal courage and heroism demonstrated by John
still amazes me.

But I profoundly disagree with the direction
John wants to take this country, from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Amtrak
to veterans.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, a panel of Democratic pols and economists seemed to agree that new investment in American infrastructure — including freight and commuter rail — is sorely needed, but came up short on the subject of funding. Roll Call reports:

They all
expressed the need for a private-public partnership, but the question
of where to raise federal funding caused anxiety among the elected
officials.

One
key issue was that the current system for infrastructure funding,
implemented in the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, relies on gas taxes
for revenue. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) called any attempt by Congress
to raise the gas tax “dead on arrival.”

But
Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) said that with or without the gas tax something
had to be done to bridge the funding gap, noting that the $1.6 trillion
cited by the ASCE report would only cover maintenance, not new
projects.

“When
I became governor I had to raise $2.4 billion in taxes,” Rendell said.
“When re-election came around — people aren’t stupid — one incumbent
lost and she voted against the tax increase.

“This is the time we have to challenge the American people. Folks, you get what you pay for.”

Photo: Associated Press via CNN 

  • OMG – I caught that too! I don’t really give a hoot for the whole presidential thing anymore – more wars, two brigades of marines to Afghanistan, yay Israel, “issues”, etc.

    But Amtrak in the future VP’s speech! With the ISTEA re-authorization coming up – that could bode extremely well for rail.

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